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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Slower traffic means you!

By definition, "slower" means not as fast as something or someone else. It doesn't matter Rocket A travels at 4 times the speed of sound. If Rocket B travels at 5 times the speed of sound, Rocket A is, by definition, the slower of the two rockets.

Therefore, logic would hold that were there an intergallactic road sign that said, "Slower Rockets Keep Right," Rocket B would have a resonable expectation that Rocket A would hauls its slow-moving ass on over and let the big dog pass.

Apparently what's good enough for space travel does not apply to American roadways.

I've reached the end of my rope with people who insist on maintaining their position in the left lane of the two lane highway near our home, regardless of their speed.  If you are driving 50 mph in a 45 mph zone but I'm driving 55, it does not mean that you get to keep your position.  You are -- again, by definition -- slower traffic.  (And, yes...this means mentally slower as well as your driving speed.)

I have a message for these people who insist on clogging the left lane: I want most of you in a ditch. With one notable exception I'll discuss later.

I'm not even going to waste any effort explaining why these self-absorbed denizens of the planet Idiotia are bad for the community. I don't have the energy.

But given my extensive experience with these a-holes, I have narrowed them down to five categories:

1. The Octogenarians:  I genuinely feel bad once I eventually catch up with Grandpa and Granpda Kettle headed to the early-bird special at Perkins. But the time I'm able to get around them, I've already called Grandma names I normally reserve for the worst of my ex-wives. Sorry Granma.

2. The Obliviots:  God love ‘em but this group of oblivious idiot has no idea they’re clogging the lanes of commerce. Eventually, they can be roused by continually flashing headlights or blowing horns at them and they seem genuinely contrite as you blast past them.  They get to live.

3. The Boy Scout™ Turners:  This group wants to make sure they’re in perfect position to make that left turn into their neighborhood Piggly Wiggly, even if it means they need to park their 1974 Dodge Dart – complete with factory smoke-bellower – in the left lane 17 miles before their turn.  If there was a merit badge for morons, these guys would be Eagle Scouts.

4. The ImbeCells:  While 95% of the time the driver of this annoying left-laner is a woman, occasionally a man will get on the phone and totally lose all comprehension of spatial orientation. Frankly, I hesitate to call the male ImbeCells “men” since talking on a cell phone while driving is a decidedly womanly characteristic. Everyone knows that a real man texts while driving. You can tell an ImbeCell by the fact that they speed up an slow down, depending on whether they’re talking or listening.

5. The Enforcers:  These are the worst. Usually driving a fuel-efficient import with bumper stickers supporting liberal causes, these folks sit in the left lane, travelling at exactly the speed limit and smugly smiling at me when I eventually pass them in the right lane. These people I do not want in a ditch. I want them dead. For a multitude of reasons. But mainly for taking it upon themselves to be the arbiter of what speed everyone should travel.

The one thing all five of these morons have one thing in common: they don't grasp the concept of "slower" and "faster." Frankly, given that, a ditch may not be enough. After all, do we really want these dolts polluting the gene pool?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Words never die

The beauty of the oral and written traditions is that they keep alive words and phrases from generation to generation.  In this manner, wisdom is passed from father to son, mother to daughter, grandparent to grandchild.

So what the hell are we supposed to do when phrases from our modern culture should die?

There are dozens of trite, hackneyed phrases that were poignant when they first appeared but through overuse by lazy writers, political pundits, or hopelessly-uncool-people-trying-to-sound-hip, they begin to sound like nothing more than ground glass filtered through a sand-filled ear canal on it's way to the brain.

You know what these are.  There are hundreds of examples of these we hear every day.  "Where's the Beef!"  "You go, Girl!"  "Think outside the box."  They are the result of intellectual retardation and the utter inability or unwillingness to thoughtfully craft the words we use to express our complex thoughts and feelings.

Of course, for a large portion of the population with whom we come in regular contact, "complex thoughts" may be overstating things by a factor of 100 or so.

But I digress...

I am officially adding a phrase to the list of phrases I hope to hear, nevermore:  "It is what it is."

When first uttered, this phrase seemed to capture the essence of what an old boss of mine used to call, "a blinding flash of the obvious."  Intended to communicate an acceptance of a current situation as being exactly what it appeared and indicate a resignation to the fact that nothing could be done to change it, hence we might as well figure out where to go from here.

Notwithstanding the flawed premise that a situation cannot be changed ("It is what it is" is commonly uttered by ineffectual middle managers to shove some crap situation down the throats of their subordinates when they're too lazy or frightened to challenge their bosses to better a situation and by parking-lot-mud-puddle deep modern day philosophers to indicate they're powerless to change the fact that the local Greek place is out of Tzatziki), the phrase itself has become overworn, threadbare, and devoid of any thought whatsoever.  The thinking (being gracious) being that this profound-sounding phrase will so succinctly and effectively sum up a situation when, in fact, it makes the utterer sound vapid, shallow, and completely devoid of the capacity to think or speak like big people.

In addition, given that the phrase adds nothing whatsoever to a discussion, it has become little more than a verbalized pause, the modern day equivalent of "um," "...and so forth," and "whatnot."  It is empty noise in a world crying out for not only relevant sounds but also for meaningful silence.

So, as a public service, I will render forth a replacement for this trite, overused phrase.  In its place, we shall collectively henceforth say, "Hot is hot."  This, too, is a blinding flash of the obvious and indicates there's not a damn thing anyone can do about a situation but it also adds a touch of "duh!" to the equation.  "Of course 'hot is hot,' dumbass!" you will hear.  Which is kind of the point.  Of course, so is "it is what it is," both logically and mathematically (x=x).  But "hot is hot" will point out the absurdity of the sentiment entirely.

I understand that my little rant awash in the vast sea of banality that is the internet will likely a) never see the light of day, or b) have any impact whatsoever.  But I cannot sit idly by as my children and my children's children are swept away by the vapidity of the intellectual micro-midgets of our time.  My Quixotic (and E.B. White-ian) quest to rid the world of needless words will fall, sadly, on deaf ears and we'll collectively become stupider each time we hear this phrase.

Oh, well...what can I do?  After all, hot is hot...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Welcome to the Smoke House

Thanks for stopping by Where There's Smoke, my blog on topics that likely interest only me.  I'll be tossing out my thoughts as they occur, lest I lose them blowing across the barren wasteland of my mind...

Nothing significant to report now but topics coming soon include:

- Clinton was the first black President...Obama is the first female President...find out why
- "Slower Traffic Keep Right" means YOU!
- Having a bowel movement at the office as a capital offense

Plus I'll post progress on my two book projects and chronicle our process of considering relocation to Lake Mary, Florida.

And remember...where there's smoke, there's cancer...